‘Donten Laughing Under the Clouds Gaiden‘ is a trilogy of television films directed by Tetsuya Wakano and produced by Wit Studios. They are all based on a historical fantasy manga by Karakara-Kemuri.
‘Chapter 1 – One Year After the Battle’ is set a year after a battle in which a group of warriors called the Yamainu defeated a giant evil serpent called Orochi where they lost friends and allies. Team member Tenka Kumō (Christopher Wehkamp) is left paralyzed after the battle and wants to travel the world. Captain Abe no Sōsei (Eric Vale) tells the rest of the team that the military is disbanding them and they all have to decide their own fates, but how do you decide after witnessing something so tragic?
‘Chapter 2 – The Tragedy of Fuuma Ninja Tribe’ takes place before Orochi’s arrival. The plot follows Isuke Fuuma (Robert McCollum) and Isame Fuuma (J. Michael Tatum), members of the Fuuma Clan who serve Orochi and desire to see him take over the world. However, divided loyalties and family rivalries stand in the way.
‘Chapter 3 – Conspiracy of the Military’ shows Soramaru Kumō, his younger brother Chūtarō Kumō, ally Takeda (Joel McDonald), and family friend Nishiki (Jaimie Marchi) discover a rogue military unit created soldiers from Orochi’s cells. One is loose and wants to kill Tenka, but to make matters worse, former members of the Yamainu may be involved in the experiments.
Wit Studio has some of the best animation and I loved it. The characters are all well-designed and I loved the action sequences. Each one has an excellent fight scene, especially in chapter one where we see the Yamainu take down a gang that has taken hostages.
As for the plot, with chapter one, I did not realize this trilogy served as a “spiritual successor” to another anime from Doga Kobo. Once I realized that this was a year after the events of that series, I was able to keep up a little better, though I did not get a lot of character development. From there, I was able to understand what was going on and I ended up enjoying it a great deal.
It had a solid story, interesting characters, and the voice acting was done very well. I liked seeing this group after such a tragedy and how they are going forward. They do that with the villains of the story who also get some introspection on where they will go.
Bottom line, Donten Laughing Under the Clouds Gaiden is a fascinating look at historical fiction and understanding characters reeling from a battle. I do recommend watching its predecessor or reading the manga to understand it, but once you are caught up, I think you will enjoy it.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Mild foul language, Rude humor, Violence
Check out the trailer below:
This article is based on the English dub.
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